Thierry Henry’s uncalled handball in a World Cup play-off was a major reason France qualified for the 2010 tournament instead of Ireland. Today, the head of the Football Association of Ireland confirmed that FIFA paid off the FAI to avoid legal action.
In an interview with Irish radio, John Delaney corroborated what had long been rumored:
“We felt we had a legal case against FIFA because of how the World Cup play-off hadn’t worked out for us with the Henry handball,” Delaney said. “Also the way Blatter behaved, if you remember on stage, having a snigger and having a laugh at us. That day when I went in, and I told him how I felt about him, there were some expletives used and we came to an agreement.
“That was a Thursday and on Monday the agreement was all signed and all done. It’s a very good agreement for the FAI and a very legitimate agreement for the FAI, but I’m bound by confidentiality for naming the figure.”
The payout has been reported as €5 million.
Delaney insisted “it was a very good and legitimate deal for the FAI.” That’s not what he said back in 2009:
In international soccer, integrity most certainly does carry a price tag.